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Recommendations to improve preconception health and health care--United States. A report of the CDC/ATSDR Preconception Care Work Group and the Select Panel on Preconception Care.

Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, New Hampshire, USA.
MMWR. Recommendations and reports: Morbidity and mortality weekly report. Recommendations and reports / Centers for Disease Control 05/2006; 55(RR-6):1-23.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This report provides recommendations to improve both preconception health and care. The goal of these recommendations is to improve the health of women and couples, before conception of a first or subsequent pregnancy. Since the early 1990s, guidelines have recommended preconception care, and reviews of previous studies have assessed the evidence for interventions and documented the evidence for specific interventions. CDC has developed these recommendations based on a review of published research and the opinions of specialists from the CDC/ATSDR Preconception Care Work Group and the Select Panel on Preconception Care. The 10 recommendations in this report are based on preconception health care for the U.S. population and are aimed at achieving four goals to 1) improve the knowledge and attitudes and behaviors of men and women related to preconception health; 2) assure that all women of childbearing age in the United States receive preconception care services (i.e., evidence-based risk screening, health promotion, and interventions) that will enable them to enter pregnancy in optimal health; 3) reduce risks indicated by a previous adverse pregnancy outcome through interventions during the interconception period, which can prevent or minimize health problems for a mother and her future children; and 4) reduce the disparities in adverse pregnancy outcomes. The recommendations focus on changes in consumer knowledge, clinical practice, public health programs, health-care financing, and data and research activities. Each recommendation is accompanied by a series of specific action steps and, when implemented, can yield results within 2-5 years. Based on implementation of the recommendations, improvements in access to care, continuity of care, risk screening, appropriate delivery of interventions, and changes in health behaviors of men and women of childbearing age are expected to occur. The implementation of these recommendations will help achieve Healthy People 2010 objectives. The recommendations and action steps are a strategic plan that can be used by persons, communities, public health and clinical providers, and governments to improve the health of women, their children, and their families. Improving preconception health among the approximately 62 million women of childbearing age will require multistrategic, action-oriented initiatives.

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